The letter begins with what may have been a startling announcement for many. Jude writes as a concerned pastor warning of the dangerous reality facing the church. False teachers have crept into the church unnoticed. They reject God, his law, and deny the necessity of holiness. These were not small disagreements over theological minutia, these leaders were dangerous, greedy, fruitless, waves of chaos set on leading the church astray and into apostasy. Having described these scoffers who are divisive and devoid of the Spirit, Jude instructs God’s people to remember who they are in Christ and the truth that is found in God’s word. The pastoral exhortation is unmistakable. Build your faith, pray, keep yourself in the love of God, actively anticipate Christ’s return, and run to the fire filled with mercy and fear that some might be snatched from the flames unto salvation. However, now as we come the end of this short letter, the song of Jude soars and the contending for the faith once for all delivered to the saints becomes a cantata of praise. The object of this faith that we are to contend for is more glorious than we can begin to conceive.
Sermons in: Jude
Jude lived at a time when Christianity was under severe political attack from Rome and aggressive spiritual infiltration from gnostic-like apostates and libertines. Except for John, who lived at the close of the century, all of the other apostles had been martyred, and Christianity was thought to be extremely vulnerable. Thus, Jude called the church to fight, in the midst of intense spiritual warfare, for the truth. Jude is a book full of warning, but it closes with supreme confidence in God. Dangerous times should make us trust in an almighty God.
In a 1948 speech to the House of Commons, Winston Churchill said, “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” Jude wants the church to learn from history, so he has provided a historical survey to demonstrate how remembering history may provide examples and patterns for identifying these false teachers who crept in unnoticed. Pastorally, he has explained the necessity of contending for the faith, and now he is ready to tell how his readers should respond to this threat. How do you keep yourself in the love of God? How can you keep yourself and God keep you at the same time?
Jude is writing this letter with great pastoral concern about the influence of false teachers within the church 2000 years ago. People were being led astray, so Jude exhorts them to “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” Was this a problem because the nascent church was still defining the faith? Is it something that we really need to contend with today? Does anyone really pervert grace for sensuality or deny Jesus? There are many professing Christian teachers, preachers, and scholars who see it as their business to challenge the truthfulness of the Bible, the deity of Christ, the claims of the gospel, the absoluteness of the truth of God's word. Christianity is about how one perceives God in his or her heart... It is spirituality without commitment, rules, obligations, doctrines, and teachings. I can’t help who I am or feeling the way I feel and I’m trying my best... isn’t that enough? Jude would say absolutely not. Truth matters. Doctrine matters.
Jude was written at a time when Christianity was under severe political attack and aggressive spiritual infiltration. This small, but powerful book was written to believers as a call to fight for the faith as truth is under attack. Join us Families Pastor Jason Holmes walks us through Jude 1:1-4, showing us how this timely message is just as relevant today as it was in Jude's time, and how we can rest in God's promises amongst intense spiritual warfare knowing we are called, beloved, and kept once and for all.